The Inner Struggle

Doing the Right Thing … with anger and resentment? … or peaceful humility?

ゆりかごの歌”  William W. Spearman IV, from the album “Beautiful Japanese Songs” (2006)

“Beautiful Japanese Songs” (2006)

“Beautiful Japanese Songs” (2006)

For the last little while, I have been thinking about stress and disposition, over hot coffee, and amongst friends and allies, all the while acknowledging that  congeniality and a relative absence of turmoil and emotive stress are required to consider honestly any life situation involving said turmoil and stress.

I have been considering the difference between doing, or not doing the required “right thing” which you are handed by circumstances and the exigencies of daily life. Between saying and not saying whatever comes to mind as one finds oneself yet again troubled by the unrest resulting from the ill considered actions and sayings of others.

As Bill the Bard famously wrote: “Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles, And by opposing end them”. I rather suspect folks have thinking these thoughts for a long long time.

I think the question of doing or not doing is pretty much settled, at least for me. Of course we “do the right thing” regardless of how we feel about it personally, sometimes we even manage to do it to the extent that we choose to make major personal sacrifices to do the right thing. All well and good. Doing “the right thing” is the important thing. 

But my personal jury is still out deliberating over “saying” or “not saying”.  Adapting ourselves to the mentalities, preferences and needs of others proves to be a real obstacle to doing the right thing with good will. We give ourselves a free pass to say whatever comes to mind because “the other” is wrong, rude, ungrateful, malicious, stupid, they don’t understand, they never learn … the excuses we use to heal our self image and justify our bad behaviour are endless.

Captain James T. Kirk

We choose to insist upon our personal feelings, our point of view, our own tastes, instead of resolving to overlook  all the differences of temperament, mentality, education, experience, tastes and so on.

Putting ourselves as the service of the other with a genuine and sincere spirit of humility in all things would short circuit the hard wired reactions of resentment, anger, judgement, and general dissatisfaction with the “moronic” conduct of others which lack of consideration and foresight leads to all the problems and crisis of daily life, our “Calvary”.

So how can one reasonably transition from anger, resentment, thirst for personal justice and fairness, wake up and smell the coffee, people, the all encompassing general irritation with the idiosyncrasies and idiocy of those around us who are continually screwing with our otherwise peaceful pleasant lives by their self-centered, narcissistic, ill-considered, defecation on the carpet of life?

How can one transition from pride and arrogance to humility and peace?

“早春賦”, William W. Spearman IV, from the album “Beautiful Japanese Songs” (2006)

Mark Manson, 2016

Mark Manson, 2016

It strikes me today that that place of transition, that no-man’s land between anger and arrogance and peaceful humility, may well be entered into by Mark Manson’s “Subtle art of not giving a F***”. As he says in his book (swapping the F-bomb for “damn”):

*****

Look, this is how it works. You’re going to die one day. I know that’s kind of obvious, but I just wanted to remind you in case you’d forgotten. You and everyone you know are going to be dead soon.

And in the short amount of time between here and there, you have a limited amount of damns to give. Very few, in fact. And if you go around giving a damn about everything and everyone without conscious thought or choice—well, then you’re going to get damned.

There is a subtle art to not giving a damn. And though the concept may sound ridiculous and I may sound like an idiot, what I’m talking about here is essentially learning how to focus and prioritize your thoughts effectively—how to pick and choose what matters to you and what does not matter to you based on finely honed personal values.

This is incredibly difficult. It takes a lifetime of practice and discipline to achieve. And you will regularly fail. But it is perhaps the most worthy struggle one can undertake in one’s life. It is perhaps the only struggle in one’s life.

Because when you give too many damns—when you give a damn about everyone and everything—you will feel that you’re perpetually entitled to be comfortable and happy at all times, that everything is supposed to be just exactly the damned way you want it to be.

***

Manson, Mark. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck”: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life (pp. 13-14). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

The fault zone, the rift valley, between the tectonic plate of self-righteous anger and resentment and the neighboring undiscovered country of peaceful meekness and humility in all things is so huge as to be difficult to apprehend and consider crossing without some kind of mountain pass or transition zone.

I am thinking that perhaps that philosophical mountain pass is in fact exactly what Mark is talking about: “pick and choose what matters to you and what does not matter to you based on finely honed personal values”.

Not only “what matters to me” but leap to “What Matters”! In this metaphorical mountain pass we can pick off daily bites of climbing which our limited abilities make doable.

Considering the entire fault zone as one huge challenge to “leap at a single bound!” puts us in the position of having to be Tony Stark in our Iron Man flying power armor. We are going to fail, come up short, confirm just what a screw-up we really are, in short turn our struggle into a self fulfilling prophecy of failure and misery.

Then, as a newly realized, miserable failure, we are tempted to indulge in : … F***ing  things up in at least one of two ways: 1.   “Denial”.  Some people deny that their problems exist in the first place. And because they deny reality, they must constantly delude or distract themselves from reality. This may make them feel good in the short term, but it leads to a life of insecurity, neuroticism, and emotional repression.

And 2.  (a real biggy) Victim Mentality”.  Some choose to believe that there is nothing they can do to solve their problems, even when they in fact could. Victims seek to blame others for their problems or blame outside circumstances. This may make them feel better in the short term, but it leads to a life of anger, helplessness, and despair.

People deny and blame others for their problems for the simple reason that it’s easy and feels good, while solving (personal behaviour) problems is hard and often feels bad.

So, these days I am strongly leaning towards “daily bites of climbing” which are doable with our limited resources and God’s help. The other part of this challenge is the understanding that we are unlikely to be successful in attaining peaceful, humble, meekness in any degree of perfection. This is a daily ongoing battle – failing and getting up again and trying again.

No matter how much we may seem to have failed, the climb is all about never giving up and always starting again with renewed commitment. This is all that matters, it is an effort of the will, it is not emotional, and there are precious few consolations along the way. The emotional danger of feeling that all our time and effort is wasted is what tempts us to give up in our effort.

Our ordinary notion of progress does not serve us well in this climb, for it will often appear that we spend more time failing than succeeding, and in that we lose site of the fact that the climb is all about trying and never giving up.

At least that is how it seems to me these days.

Cheers

Joe

Never Give Up, Never Give Up, Never Give Up …

 

 

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Life in a small town, The Inner Struggle

Pilgrim Strangers in a Strange Land …

  早春賦, William W. Spearman IV, from the album “Beautiful Japanese Songs” (2006)

Flowing BrookSo, fasting, how are things going? So far I have been following a 1 meal a day regimen and allowing myself a 4 hour window between 6 and 10 PM for eating and snacking. Blood sugars are testing at 5.0 to 7.5 international (the conversion factor is 18 for those who want to see that in American units , eg. 7×18=126, at least that is how I think it converts) and I think that is getting close to normal, or at least a close to normal as you can measure with meter technology that is + or – 20% accurate.  Resting blood pressure is 110/60 today and weight is 234 Lbs. (or 106 Kg). I am in trace keytosis and I feel great.

(If you haven’t read my previous posts on this topic here , and here, and here, and here, and here, then let it be known that when I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes 7 years ago I was 270 Lbs., blood sugars were in the high teens, and blood pressure was in the 140 over 90 range. I felt like crap! And for most of the last 7 years I have struggled with pills, diet, and exercise, mostly with little long term success.

In January of this year I was testing blood sugars of 16.0 to 17.0 while taking 4 Metformin and a Gliclazide daily. We were talking about starting on Insulin injections. Things were not getting better and the prognosis was not good. I started fasting in January as part of a spiritual exercise. Then good things started happening to my body. My first reaction was “What the heck is happening?” then I started digging and found Jason Fung. The rest I have blogged about.)

So back to the here and now. I have been watching a lot of videos on YouTube and some TED talks about weight loss, aging, diabetes and how to treat it and am observing that they fall into two broad categories.  The first category holds the vast majority of these presenters – who are basically using existing research (not their own) to debunk all the currently accepted or even medically recommended methods for dealing with weight loss and with “type 2 diabetes”.

This category contains all the specialists, gurus, consultants, program deliverers, diet preachers, experts, who are trying to turn sick folks away from the generally accepted practices of the medical community so that they can convert them to their “specialist” path to health.

They do not see generally accepted practices as wrong because of the bad assumptions made about causes but rather as wrong because they do not deliver results. For example, this doctor makes a pretty good presentation before he eventually sets his outrageous hook,  and he uses “medical research” from the 1920’s as his starting point.

Dr. John McDougal 2013I believe Dr. McDougall is a legitimate medical practitioner who just happens to still be living in the old “Blood Sugar is the cause” paradigm.

These Gurus without exception do not see the medically accepted practices and the people who deliver these practices as “wrong” because they have misdiagnosed the disease or misidentified the root causes but rather they see them as competitors in a marketplace.

They are pushing “Their Special Solution” as “The” only right answer, and they really want the sick folks to buy their product, or their method, or their “diet”.

The first flag that should go up when watching this category of practitioners is when you start feeling that they are spending an awful lot of time going into great depth and detail about what is wrong with everybody else’s solutions and you start wondering what their “special” solution is.

Inevitably, after they spend 3/4th of their presentation  running down their competition and dangling the bait of a miracle solution they then set the hook by presenting “their program” or “their product” and telling where you can sign up for only $19.99 U.S. per week or buy the product for “only” $49.95 or $99.95 or whatever.

A few years ago I coined a phrase “The Howler Jungle” to describe the outrageous behavior of all the raging tribes of Howler Monkeys found on Facebook. Now I have coined the new metaphor “The Snake Oil Opera” to encapsulate the legion of salesmen out there, with sometimes dubious professional credentials (because Dr. does not a doctor make).

This class of professional FUD salesmen are working their collective asses off to sell their “secret” solution to the legions of sick suckers who are always looking for an easy fix for the results of their own behavior, and who are currently mindlessly following the prevailing medical mantra about obesity and diabetes.

This FUD salesmen crowd is stuck in the same old tired, deadly, “blood sugar is the cause” paradigm that is killing fat diabetics by their thousands every year. What they are upset about is not about patients dieing, but rather it is all about who is making the money from these legions of fat diabetics. They want a slice of the pie.

“Yamanakabushi” performed by Jean-Pierre Rampal & Yuzuko Horigome, from the album “Yamanakabushi: Japanese Melodies”, Vol. 3, (1982)

Jason Fung 2017Then there is a much smaller category made up of medical and scientific researchers and practitioners who are not being funded by the Drug Companies or Big Agriculture, or Big Government and they have no special “secret Gnostic jewel” they are trying to sell to get their slice of the pie.

Examples of these presenters are Dr. Jason Fung, — ‘Therapeutic Fasting — Solving the Two-Compartment Problem’, also at The Aetiology of Obesity Part 1 of 6: A New Hope.

Dr. Jason Fung completed medical school and internal medicine at the University of Toronto before finishing his nephrology fellowship at the University of California, Los Angeles at the Cedars-Sinai hospital.

He now has a practice in Ontario, Canada where he uses his Intensive Dietary Management program to help all sorts of patients, but especially those suffering from the two big epidemics of modern times: obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Dr. Fung uses innovative solutions to these problems, realizing that conventional treatments are not that effective in helping people.

Professor Valter Longo 2017Another researcher deserving notice (IMHO) is Dr. Valter Longo .  Dr. Valter Longo is the Edna M. Jones Professor of Gerontology and Biological Sciences, and Director of the Longevity Institute at the University of Southern California – Davis School of Gerontology, Los Angeles.

Dr. Longo’s studies focus on the fundamental mechanisms of aging in simple organisms, mice and humans. The Longo laboratory has identified several genetic pathways that regulate aging in simple organisms and reduce the incidence of multiple diseases in mice and humans.

His laboratory also described both dietary and genetic interventions that protect cells and improve the treatment and prevention of cancer and other diseases in mammals.

He received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in 1997,  and his postdoctoral training in the Neurobiology of Aging and Alzheimer’s Diseases at USC. He started his independent career in 2000 at the University of Southern California, School of Gerontology.

Bert Herring 2017Another doctor I believe is on the right track is Dr. Bert Herring. Originally destined for the surgical suite, Bert’s experiences in the Marine Corps changed his outlook on medicine and the realities of global problems. After working at the National Institute of Health with a focus on cancer treatments, Bert found time to study global obesity.

The outcome of this research sparked the Fast-5 weight-loss tool, which has helped thousands of people overcome obesity. It’s a way of eating that is consistent with a lifestyle emphasizing simplicity and value—two virtues that are conspicuously absent in America’s booming weight-loss industry.

In 2005, Dr. Bert showed the world a way to maintain practical, sustainable intermittent fasting with his first book, The Fast-5 Diet and the Fast-5 Lifestyle. In his latest book, AC: The Power of Appetite Correction, he’s added over a dozen tools—all sustainable lifestyle options—to help you achieve appetite correction and fat loss without calorie counting or food restrictions.

With a diverse range of experience, from the no-nonsense world of the US Marines infantry to cutting-edge cancer research at the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Bert maintains a strong sense of practicality and respect for real life.

“Life is for the living,” he says. “The way you eat has to be compatible with a life of spontaneity, fun and variety. Losing fat is almost impossible if you’re working against your body, rather than with it.”

Simplicity and value … that is really what it is all about. One unexpected benefit of our family diet is the dramatic reduction in food costs and the equally dramatic reduction in the time spent planing, shopping, preparing, cooking, eating, and cleanup. The savings are in the order of several hundred dollars a month in food costs and several hours per day which we no longer have to spend on the whole eating thing.

Canada Food GuideLastly, why have over 300 medical practitioners in Canada now signed on to a petition to health Canada to change the Canada Food Guide. These are highly intelligent, highly trained, highly professional medical practitioners. Why would they be willing to put their careers on the line to push government regulators to change the guidelines.

Is it really likely that they have all entered into some delusional episode brought on by eating too much fat and not enough carbs, or is it more likely that they are onto something important and are willing to push the truth at the risk of their professional careers.

Seriously, ask yourself what you could do with $500 to $800 a month in food and drug savings and an extra 4 or 5 hours in your day? Seriously!

Think about it!  $9000.00 dollars a year and 1500 hours a year. Couple that with vastly improved health, including complete cures for obesity, and type 2 diabetes,dramatic improvements in cardio vascular disease incidents and outcomes and cancer incidence and outcomes.  Isn’t something like that worth investigating.

Cheers

Joe

Idiots HappenWhy do people insist on continuing to believe and do things and live lifestyles which have demonstrably bad outcomes every time?

 

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